My mother is a type 1 diabetic. She’s also deeply devout and rabidly anti-cannabis. That makes for a potent combination. I’ve tried for years to crack her anti-cannabis shell to no avail. She is fond of telling the story of a former babysitter of mine who supposedly smoked pot in the house while watching me. Mom said her nose knew, and ever since then, she has associated cannabis with bad behavior. She has also been reluctant to learn more about cannabis. This despite her eldest working in the industry. That all changed last year.
I found myself laid off during Covid. Being out of work and middle aged will make a man re-examine his priorities. I was reading the news when I came across an article about Saint Louis University’s Cannabis Science and Operations Program. Not one to ignore signs placed directly in front of me, I immediately signed up for the program which consisted of five, eight week compressed semesters. The third semester was all about extraction methods. My fellow students and I actually got to make edibles and topicals. One of the products I made was a coconut oil based salve that used full extract hemp oil and a standard hemp oil extraction. Everything was made on my stovetop. (A quick aside, did you know that you can order an elbow (that’s a lb.) of CBD bud through the mail? What a country! https://cbdhemp.direct/collections/cbd-trim)
There is something therapeutic about the process that goes into making a topical. Especially one that requires both FEHO (Full Hemp Extract Oil) and SHOE (Standard Hemp Oil Extraction). Making SHEO involves extracting acidic cannabinoids and the accompanying terpenes from raw flower using grain alcohol, then slowly decarbing the flower in a bath of coconut, avocado or even sunflower oil until the alcohol evaporates. FEHO is a little different in that you decarb the flower first, then heat in Everclear until all the alcohol has evaporated and you are left with a thick, viscous liquid called FEHO. If the flower contains THC then your end product would be called FECO, or Full Extract Cannabis Oil. People also call this product RSO or Rick Simpson Oil. Since I was making a product for class, it was decidedly THC-free. But that doesn’t make it any less effective.
On an afternoon visit to my folks, I found my mother slowly writhing in pain on the couch due to the neuropathic pain in her feet. Not one to watch my mother be in pain, I got out my jar of stovetop salve. (Yes, I carry salve with me. So should you!) I approached her and said, “Mom, I know how you feel about cannabis, but I can’t stand by and watch you be in pain when I can do something about it.” I showed her the jar. “Can I put some of this on your feet?” She said she didn’t want to get high. I responded, “There’s no THC in here. Only CBD.” She reluctantly said yes. All it took was a thin layer on the bottom of her feet, and an hour or so for the pins and needles to completely disappear. The neuropathy in her feet did not return for months. In fact, she says she feels like she’s walking on pillows.
Mom is still pretty anti-cannabis. She doesn’t like the thought of her, or anyone in her family for that matter, being high. I think it has something to do with her not wanting to lose control, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. Despite this, she still uses the salve I left her, but only when she can’t take the pain. Still, I am not giving up. By no means do I expect to share a joint with my mother, but I hope that someday she will feel comfortable enough to approach me about having an honest conversation about cannabis.